Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Muslim dress codes Letter of the day

  • Print

Islamic dress codes for Muslim women are currently a source of discourse among Muslims in western countries due to the forthcoming ban on wearing of the burka and niqab in some European countries.

Dress codes for Muslim women are based on verses in the Qur'an and the narrated traditions of Prophet Muhammad. Verses in the Qur'an that relate to women's clothing are Surah Al-Noor (24:30,31) and Surah Al-Ahzaab (33:59).

The first verse tells the believing Muslim women to cast down their look and guard their private parts, not to display their ornaments and turn to God in order to succeed. Whereas in second verse, God tells the prophet to advise his wives, daughters and believing women to draw their outer garments around themselves when they go out so that they will be recognized and not annoyed.

The requirement for outer garments seems to be mandatory by the interpretation of Qur'anic verses, but it does not imply that the entire female body be veiled, keeping one eye open as some Muslims interpret the verse. The outer garment may be designed as a loose garment, having the same degree of body coverage and modesty as required by Islamic perception in order to comply with the divine message.

None of the above verses in the Qur'an, however, categorically describes the covering of women's face, hair or entire body as is being advocated by some Muslims.

Wearing of the hijab, niqab or burka by Muslim women in various Muslim countries relates to the interpretation of divine messages by some scholars during last few centuries, or narrations supposedly originating from Prophet Muhammad and his wife Aisah, as mentioned in some historical books. These narrations are based on prevailing traditions and can't be regarded as quotations from the Qur'an. During Muhammad's time, Muslim women were not wearing the hijab or cloak with the exception of his immediate family. The hijab is not mentioned in the Qur'an as an article of clothing for women or men; rather it is a curtain that was used for a man to stand behind when he wanted to talk to the prophet's wives. This curtain was there to divide the two parties and provide privacy. Similarly, the niqab or burka is full-face veiling custom or cultural tradition that has nothing to do with the Islamic faith.

Arguing on the basis of religious freedom and comparing the miniskirt or jeans with the niqab may not prove the point. All Muslim women who are strong proponents of wearing the niqab and burka in public places are entitled to their perception of the faith, but they should also comply with the law of the land. If the two are not compatible, then they should opt to move to an Islamic country where they can exercise their freedom of religion.

I understand, wearing of the niqab is not a religious requirement that is mentioned in the Qur'an. Wearing the burka and keeping one eye open deprives a woman of her basic rights and may not be acceptable at this day and time.

Mohammad Ashraf


Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 10, 2010 A15

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes


  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.


Make text: Larger | Smaller


Jets This Week: Crunching the playoff numbers

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A baby Red Panda in her area at the Zoo. International Red Panda Day is Saturday September 15th and the Assiniboine Park Zoo will be celebrating in a big way! The Zoo is home to three red pandas - Rufus, Rouge and their cub who was born on June 30 of this year. The female cub has yet to be named and the Assiniboine Park Zoo is asking the community to help. September 14, 2012  BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS
  • A goose comes in for a landing Thursday morning through heavy fog on near Hyw 59 just north of Winnipeg - Day 17 Of Joe Bryksa’s 30 day goose challenge - May 24, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos


Are you concerned about the possibility of terror attacks in Winnipeg?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google